Wednesday, August 11, 2010

President, FEMA Declare Starr and Other Counties a Major Disaster Area

File Photo
Washington, DC – Congressman Henry Cuellar, TX-28,  lauded President Obama for declaring the State of Texas (which includes Bexar, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Starr, Webb, and Zapata counties) a major disaster area as a result of Hurricane Alex and a Tropical Depression, which severely impacted the state from June 30 - July 28. This declaration was made based on a recommendation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under direction from the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.

As part of the disaster declaration, the counties impacted by the severe weather will be able to apply for federal funds.

“I personally thank President Obama for declaring this area a major disaster and for taking into consideration the severe damages that the inclement weather brought upon counties in my district. I also thank FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and FEMA Regional Administrator Tony Russell for the collaboration in this disaster declaration process,” said Congressman Cuellar. “To the families affected by the rain and flood I say: Be patient. Help is on its way.”

The rainfall and major flooding from this event that involved tornado and hurricane conditions caused record-level damages.  The most severe effects were to the southern and northwestern portions of Texas which caused distress to the local economy, hospitals, nursing homes, housing, and infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and wastewater treatment plants.

Cuellar represents six of the twenty-two counties throughout the state that have been negatively affected by this natural disaster.  Due to the amount of damage caused by these storms within Congressman Cuellar’s District, a request was made for three separate types of federal funding. This includes individual assistance totaling almost $15 million for Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Starr, Webb, and Zapata, public assistance adding up to approximately $162 thousand for all of these same counties plus Bexar, and hazard mitigation statewide. 

The request also includes home and business loans, which will be administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Starr, Webb, and Zapata counties. 

FEMA has several categories of assistance, which include debris removal, emergency protective measures, roads and bridges, water control facilities, buildings and equipment, utilities, and other categories that include, but are not limited to parks and recreational facilities.

On Wednesday, Congressman Cuellar’s staff will be advising city and county officials in the affected areas on how to secure FEMA’s assistance.

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